10 Common Excuses for Making Unhealthy Decisions: 10 Realistic Solutions to the Problem
If you are someone who is stuck in a cycle of failure when it comes to building a healthy lifestyle, you may be, in part, falling victim to your own excuses. Excuses are one of the most common barriers that lead to poor choices that cause obesity and poor health. While excuses are easy to make, especially in our "too much stress" and "too little time" world, they are usually the result of
a. having an unrealistic plan that doesn’t fit into your life.
b. procrastinating until we really do have to rely on an excuse
c. a mindless "in the moment" rationale to avoid being accountable for our actions
d. Some or all of the above.
Here is a realistic look at common excuses and some thoughts to consider. Overcoming excuses starts by becoming aware and acknowledging instead of ignoring them. Consider, “Was my excuse valid or was there an alternative I could have considered?” By doing this you will find your own solutions that can lead to huge improvements in achieving your goals.
Healthy food is expensive! Well, it depends on how you define “healthy” food and where you are getting it. Sure if you shop at Whole Foods and want everything you eat to be organic or grass fed you will have to pay for it. But, if you are like 80% of Americans today, you aren’t even getting the minimum recommended 5 fruits and veggies a day... so let’s keep it simple! Produce basics like carrots, potatoes, broccoli, bananas and apples at your local grocery store are reasonably priced pretty much all year long and are a fraction of the cost of processed snack foods. Remember that the objective is to substitute some naturally nutritious foods, not add them to your existing grocery list. Also, make sure to consider the total cost of the food you eat, not just the grocery bill: Restaurant food, the candy bar you bought at the gas station on a whim and, your Starbucks.
Produce goes bad before I have time to eat it! Then eat it before it goes bad! It’s usually not about actual time, in fact most fruits/veggies can last a few weeks in the fridge. Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh, are inexpensive and last for months. If you are throwing out produce usually the real problems are that you
a. bought more than you needed
b. bypassed eating the apple and ate the (higher priced) Doritos instead or
c. have a mindset that vegetables only go alongside of a healthy meal.
There is no law that says you can’t steam some broccoli along with a hot dog. If you make a commitment to eat 5 a day, you will eat them. Here’s a tip: I eat an apple on the way home from work every day and snack on carrots with a bit of light ranch while cooking dinner. It’s a habit I started and have enjoyed now for years.
I don’t want to waste food. It’s an interesting observation that while some of us have no problem throwing out produce full of vitamins and minerals our body needs, throwing out the leftover cake that is full of calories and little or no nutrition is a sin. If you are overweight, are at risk for health conditions or have already had enough junk for the day, consuming it is more wasteful than throwing it in the garbage no matter what you paid for it!
I don’t have time to eat healthy! Whipping up a healthy meal can be easier, faster, more versatile... and the outcome is usually delicious! Once you get past the small learning curve (read my Drive Thru Kitchen Cooking Guide!) you'll have a few “at the ready," simple dishes in your repertoire. Even easier and less expensive (see #1) is packing your own lunch. A simple sandwich with a few chips and an apple will cost you about $1.25 and takes literally 3 minutes to make. Compare that to 10 minutes of precious break time it took you to buy the $8 overly processed restaurant food.
I don’t have time to go to the gym to exercise. Neither do I! A gym membership without a realistic plan “B” as a fall back can actually deter you from exercising. If you want to join a gym, have a plan for the days you don’t have time to get to the gym so you don’t fall out of your routine. One of my favorite ways to keep my strength training up is to multi-task dumbbell exercises while cooking, cleaning or doing other things. For example, I can easily give my biceps a great workout while cooking dinner. Do a set, stir the pot, do another, set the table…..
I am too tired. There is a phenomenon that the more you sit the more you want to sit especially if your mind is overworked. The reality is if you have been sitting all day, your mind is tired but your body is screaming to move! Our tired brain is taking over. The reality is that if you actually get up and get started, you will feel more energized and your mood will improve. It’s getting past that mental barrier, the “Umph!” to get started. Try not to think about what you are actually going to do, just put on your shoes and start moving but allowing your brain an option to quit at any time. Usually, once you put your body into action, the mind settles down and you may go faster and farther than you expected!
I don’t have time for myself. In today’s world, you will never find time for yourself. You have to take it. You have to consider your value. How many things do you do for others in a day that is not as important as taking care of your own personal well-being. The more you take care of yourself, the more capable you are to take better care of others.
I can’t afford a gym or buy exercise equipment. Can you afford a pair of sneakers? A shoe that you can wear just about anywhere? It doesn’t cost money to exercise. If you can’t walk outside, walk in place in front of the TV. Try dancing, doing pushups and jumping jacks. Anything is better than nothing! Just do something!
I am a sugar (carb) addict. If you eat a lot of processed food (which most Americans do) you’re most likely not a sugar addict. Your palette has just adapted to the taste of these foods that contain a lot of sugar (or non-fibrous carbs that process like sugars). Usually, it’s not just the sugar it’s the sugar/fat combo that we enjoy most which leads to high calorie foods that do not satisfy the appetite. If you keep adding more fat and sugar your body is never satisfied and keeps looking for more food. The thing is, you do NOT have to give up sugar. You just need to balance foods your body needs like lean protein, fruits and vegetables and other fibrous foods. Sugar should be a daily treat not a dietary mainstay.
I am fat and I will always be fat.If you believe this statement then, yes you will probably always be fat and most likely get fatter. But, if you believe that your weight isn’t about you as a person, just a side effect of the mindsets, actions and habits that are changeable with time and practice, you open yourself up to the possibility of being a healthy weight. Visualize yourself in a future realistic way and begin the steps to get there, no matter how small the actions. Expect setbacks as part of the process. Be curious and use setbacks as a positive learning experience, not a failure and just keep moving forward.